If you didn't get a teaching position, which would be the next best option substitute teacher or teacher's assistant?

9 Answers | Add Yours

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

After subbing my way through college - it is the one job I will never do again.  As a sub - you have no consistency.  Depending on the size of the district you work in - or how many schools you go between, the kids never really get to know you and you never have an opportunity to develop real relationships with them - which is (in my opinion) a teacher's best chance of being respected.  I only worked in two high schools, worked almost every day, and even saw many of the same students over and over, but something about the fact that I was just "babysitting" the class for someone else made it impossible to ever feel affirmed and relevant in the job.

Even if being an assistant teacher pays less - it is consistent.  You will be in the same room, working with the same kids and teacher - you will feel relevant and useful, you will probably get better at what you are doing in ways that will affect your future in teaching.  While subbing seems like it is perfect for networking - I think teacher's assistant would be better.  It is better to have two great references from your lead teacher and possibly the principal - than to have 100 "Oh, yes, I think she subbed for me once" recommendations.  That's just me.  They would have to substantially increase the sub-pay nationally to get me to do it again.

lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I agree with the earlier post for the most part, but another thing to consider is that a substitute position is a professional position whereas a teaching assistant is not, so that might make a difference when you ARE looking for other jobs. Also, the pay for subbing is usually more, BUT you only sub when you get called, and a teaching assistant is a regular position. You should check out how many hours you would work as a teaching assistant if salary is important to you. It has been my experience that subbing can be an every-day thing if you sign up to sub in more than one school district. A downside of subbing, as the other person has said, is that there is not consistent experience. You may be called to be a PE teacher one day and a math teacher the next.

Best of luck to you!

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, it would be better to take a job as a teacher's assistant.  I think that you would get more relevant experience and have a more satisfying experience.

As a teacher's assistant, you would get to do many of the same things a teacher would do.  The only thing you would not be doing would be the record keeping (and the lesson planning).  But you would have the chance to be with one set of kids, learn how to build relationships with them over time, etc.  You would also be able to learn from watching the teacher.

As a sub, you would be "in charge," but you would not really get an experience that is much like that of a real teacher.  You wouldn't get to spend time with one group of kids and you still wouldn't be doing the lesson planning.

So, to me, a teacher's assistant job would be a much better way to hone your skills and it would be more likely to help you get a teaching job down the line.

amp12345's profile pic

amp12345 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I would think that it would depend on what kind of school district in which you are trying to get a job.  Both of your options get you great experience with students.  In a smaller school district with only one elementary, you can get very familiar with the school staff and students by substituting or aiding.  I work in a small district and the district has hired many substitutes as well as aides.  In a larger district, I would definitely reccomend aiding.  If you are substituting, you won't necessarily be in the same building often, which will make it harder to have a relationship with the school's staff, thus making it harder to get a job.  Aides, on the other hand have a steady stream of work at the same school and can build a good rapport with staff, making it much easier to get a job.

bvanwormer's profile pic

bvanwormer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I feel that subbing gives you a better experience. You get to go to different kinds of schools and different grades. This gives you the opportunity to find the right fit for you. I subbed for two years before getting a teaching position. I discovered that I did NOT want to teach middle or high school and was very reluctant to even teach in upper elementary. (I teach 1st grade by the way.) During subbing I also found out that telling students what you expect right away avoids a lot of conflict during the day. That applies to any class. I start each day with reviewing expectations and have very little disruption.

jmclain2011's profile pic

jmclain2011 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I believe a lot depends upon your district. Right now in Oregon, as in many states, teaching jobs are few and far between.

If there is a particular school that you are interested in, then a TA position might be the key. You become part of the staff, get to know the climate of the school and can see if it would be a good fit for you. When a position opens then you have a foot in the door.

The idea of the subbing being a better way to get into a job doesn't always hold true. If you jump around to many different schools no one might ever get to know your qualities. Again, if you focus on a few schools that you might be interested in, it could lead into a long-term sub job that would also definitely get your foot in the door.

slpmomof6's profile pic

slpmomof6 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I think subbing gives you the chance to experience many grades within your subject area as well as others.  Where we live, it doesn't pay well at all to be a TA.  Most times subbing is the most lucrative and the subs seem to be the ones who then get the teaching jobs over the TA's.  This is just my experience and observations so find out how it goes in your area.

weavera1's profile pic

weavera1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I subbed for a year before being hired and subbing was very beneficial. I was able to travel to most of the schools in my county, meet the secretaries and principals and network my way around. When I subbed, I made it a point to leave a resume and portfolio with the principal , Just in case a position opened up mid year. 9Since you can only take new hires mid year- no transfers). Subbing allowed me to show many English department heads  how well I could do. I left detailed notes, learned the school's discipline policy and followed it. I became one of the staff members as much as I could.  I was able to figure out which schools I would WANT to work at and which ones I would like to avoid working at. I think 100% subbing is the way to go.

writetime's profile pic

writetime | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I am currently in that position.  I've not gone the TA route.  In my state, teacher assistants are worked hard for little pay.  They do a wonderful job working with students, but it seems they often take on work that isn't meant for a TA.  They truly have a love and passion for working with children.

I've been substitute teaching since losing a contracted position a few years ago.  It can be a challenging job to say the least.  However, it can also be very rewarding.  The lack of consistancy is what can make it most challenging.  When you build a reputation in a particular school or district, you often get regular calls there and become familiar with the schools, the classrooms and the students.

It's all teaching.  Without substitutes, the schools would be in trouble.  The pay is better than being a TA, and you can continue to strive for that all important contract position by scoping out the schools while subbing and making some money at the same time.

We’ve answered 318,993 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question